In its Rural Radio proceeding (MB Docket 09-52), the FCC placed new limitations on community changes. A recent release clarifies some of this.
In its Rural Radio proceeding (MB Docket 09-52), the FCC placed new limitations on community changes. An April 26, 2013 decision in the case of a proposed change in community and upgrade of a new station clarifies the policies. (DA-13-906)
To review the new policies:
If you propose to move an allocation from one copmmunity to another, you must show that the new allotment cannot be used to serve 50% or more of an Urbanized Area (UA), or you must rebut the presumption that you are intending to serve the UA instead of the licensed community. That rebuttal must establish that the community is real, independent of the main community in the UA, requires an outlet for local expression, and possible other factors that the applicant is free to include. The bar is high, but not insurmountable. See the article from April 15, 2011
for more details on this.
They will "strongly disfavor" a proposal that would result in the net loss of 3rd, 4th, or 5th service to more than 15% of the population. (Net loss is the population losing service less the population gaining service.)
They will also "strongly disfavor"a proposal to remove the second local service (leaving behind only one local station in the community) where the community has a population of 7,500 or more.
There is an absolute bar on the creation of new white or gray areas. (White areas are unserved by any radio station, gray areas are served by only one.) The April decision clarifies that this policy applies to unbuilt allocations that are being proposed for relocation to new communities. The analysis must be done as if the allotment were an operating station. The actual service contours are to be used, including terrain effects. The old "perfect circle" construct is gone, as is the assumption that all stations except Class C operate with full power and antenna height. For FM stations, the protected service contour (60 dBu for most stations, 57 dBu for commerical Class B1, and 54 dBu for commercial Class B), and for AM the 2 mV/m daytime contour are to be used in this analysis.
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